You probably had chance to hear many stories of people who arrive to Medjugorje by various means of transport. Surely, one of the most interesting visits took place in the end of October. A German pilgrim, Gerald Dany who is 49 and lives in Slovakia at the moment, came to Medjugorje by bicycle. He heard about Medjugorje in 1989 for the first time during his visit to Belgium when he met one Catholic family. Then, he arrived to Medjugorje in 1990. Just twelve days ago, he began his pilgrimage through Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina where he plans to stay for a few days. He said how he is very connected to Medjugorje and added: “Now I will continue my journey and I want to go to Rome by bicycle. Most likely I will go to Spain afterwards and visits places of pilgrimage there.”
Pilgrims from all over the world came to Medjugorje in the end of October and those great numbers continued in the beginning of November when we celebrated feasts of All Saints and All Souls Day. The Information Office registered groups from Spain, Slovenia, Italy, France, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ukraine, England, the United States, Brazil, Ireland, Korea, Belgium, Portugal, and Venezuela. Apart from them there was a young group from Zagreb, parish of Queen of the Holy Rosary. They had two-day spiritual renewal led by six Dominican students. They visited Apparition Hill and Cross Mountain and participated in the evening prayer programme. The entire prayer programme in Medjugorje was held at the White Dome throughout the whole October, just like in the summer days.
On Friday, November 8, 2013 we will celebrate first anniversary of death of the former Medjugorje parish priest, Fr. Petar Vlasic. Holy Mass will be celebrated for him at 6 p.m. in Medjugorje church of St. James. Fr. Petar died in his 75th year of life, in his 51st year of priesthood and he was a priest for the last 47 years. He served in the various parishes as the parish vicar, the parish priest and the guardian of the monastery. He was in Medjugorje since 1999, and he was appointed as the parish priest in August 2007. He was buried in Kovacica graveyard. Fr. Petar was the assistant parish priest in Humac from 1967-1969, parish priest in Rasno from 1969-1977, parish priest in Kongora from 1977 – 1983, province secretary from 1981 – 1988, the assistant parish priest in Posusje from 1983 -1985, parish priest in Ljuti Dolac from 1985 – 1988, guardian and parish priest in Mostar in 1988,parish priest in Siroki Brijeg from 1988 – 1991,parish priest in Blagaj from 1991-1999, de familia in Mostar in 1999, the assistant parish priest in Medjugorje from 1999-2007 and finally parish priest in Medjugorje from August 25, 2007 until the day of his death.
John Barwa, Archbishop from Archdiocese Cuttack Bhubaneswar in Odisha, came recently in his first visit to Medjugorje. His Archdiocese has 11 million people and 70 000 are Catholics. He came to Medjugorje in a group of 43 Chinese and some of them live in America, Canada, Malaysia and Hong Kong. He said how Medjugorje is a place famous in the whole world. “My first impressions are really beautiful. This is a place where Mother Mary is truly present. People here act according to that, with that feeling that Mary is our Mother and they are prepared to share that experience with other pilgrims. That is why I am really proud of Medjugorje and I am very happy.
The Academic Choir Pro musica from Mostar organised concert in the occasion of All Saint and All Souls day with the theme of Mozart’s “Requiem”. This famous and extraordinary music piece was performed in the church of St. James and radio Mir Medjugorje broadcasted the entire programme to the listeners throughout the whole world. “Requiem” is the last piece that Mozart began to compose in 1791. He was composing it in his last earthly moments, after he was tied to bed, sensing that the end was near and that is what gives such strength to this music piece. “Life is so beautiful, but no one can influence our life duration. I will finish now, this is my Requiem. This cannot remain unfinished”, said great artist. (photos)
Number of Holy Communions: 211 500
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 3914 (126 per day)
There are many pilgrims in Medjugorje at the end of this October and they came from all over the world. The Information Office registered groups from: Italy, Austria, Korea, France, the United States, Germany, Slovenia, Belgium, Ukraine, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Venezuela, Canada, England and Switzerland. Leo Palladinetti comes from Senegalia, region of Ancona in Italy. After he retired as a police officer he started coming to Medjugorje since October 1984.
Prior to the feasts of All Saints and All Souls Day, the Academic Choir Pro Musica from Mostar is organising concert W.A. Mozart “Requiem” KV 626 that will take place on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 7.30 p.m. in the church of St. James in Medjugorje. Performers are: soloists of Opera of Croatian National Theatre in Osijek: Jasna Komendanović, soprano, Iskra Stanojević, mezzo-soprano, Ladislav Vrgoč, tenor, Berislav Puškarić, bas; Academic Choir Pro Musica – Mostar: Dragan Filipović, conductor, Marijana Pavlović, prof., corepetitor; Orchestra of Croatian National Theatre Osijek, Chamber Group of Symphonic Orchestra Mostar, conductor is Filip Pavisic. The entrance is free.
The same concert was held the evening before at 7 p.m. in the church of St. Mathew in Mostar.
Dr. Fr. Miljenko Steko, the Provincial of Herzegovina Franciscan Province from Mostar, was elected as the President of the Conference held in Rome from October 21-25, 2013 during the 11th General Assembly of the Conference of Franciscans from Europe. This Conference gathered 49 Provincials of the Franciscan Order from Europe as well as 5 General Definitors.
World famous pianist Gergely Bogányi from Hungary held a concert in the Hall of the Blessed John Paul II in Medjugorje. This concert was of a humanitarian nature because all donations were given to Mother’s Village and he did it out of gratitude to Our Lady. Along with him, the young musicians from Surmanci opened this concert with theme: “Hungarian games” of Johannes Brahms. “This place is the most important in my life. It is important to give a message to people through the music, but here I came to give a concert to the place that means so much to me. I only have big gratitude in my heart”, said Gergely prior to the concert. (foto)
Italian priest Fr. Giuseppe Sometti has been in Brazil in missions for the last 40 years. He spoke about his work in missions and of the experience of Medjugorje that he visited for the first time in 1985. Fr. Giuseppe said that he was happy when he heard about Gospa’s apparitions but he had a spirit of criticism within him because he had degree in paranormal activities. He is working with addicts and with abandoned children and this is what he said about his work: “I travelled to the islands where people who had terrible diseases lived and I was trying to give them medical help. They were involved in spells and black magic and that is why I spent five years studying psychology and parapsychology, so I could get to know that in the better way. I travelled to various places in Brazil and we tried to reveal to those people that they were not dealing with spirits but with something that was in their sub-consciousness. When I came to Sao Paolo I saw the world of drugs and lost children and I was very moved by that. I kept thinking what Jesus would do if He was there instead of me and then a revolution within me began. I wanted to feel and to get to know what God was asking of me.”
Giuseppe came in that year seven times to Medjugorje and he had brought many people here. “I immediately understood that something special was taking place here. I was very moved by friendship with late Fr. Slavko. Medjugorje has many good fruits. After the experience with children and the Sabbatical Year that I took and after talking to Fr. Slavko, I decided to devote myself to the work with children. Now I have 80 000 children and we have 13 active homes. We educated those children and teach them to have some craft skills. Fr. Gainni Bovo, who converted and lives close to Padova arrived with Fr. Giuseppe and said: “I met Fr. Giuseppe twenty years ago and I am helping to him, I experienced my own conversion, came to Medjugorje on few occasions and with great joy felt how my heart was opening. This is a place of prayer and conversion because of Gospa’s intensive presence.”
Damir Agicic from Slavonski Brod in Croatia came to Medjugorje for the first time thirty years ago. Ever since then, he comes to regular pilgrimages with his family or with groups of pilgrims to the Queen of Peace. He heard about Medjugorje from one of his colleagues during his student days. He spoke to his wife about that and two of them decided to come to Medjugorje after their honey moon spent at the Adriatic coast in 1983. “Before we arrived we always prayed to Our Lady and we wanted to come and thank Her for our marriage. We believed back then and even now, that we live Her blessing in fullness. What one feels here in Medjugorje are so many souls opened to the work of God and we felt that in the beginning and returned home spiritually refreshed and renewed. We were convinced later on in our lives that we received some spiritual strength during that first visit to endure everything that happened to us afterwards”, said Damir. His full testimony about Medjugorje is available in October edition of “Glasnik mira”.
Fr. Lionello Melchiori and Gregorie Ahangbonon came to Međugorje. Fr. Lionello serves in the African missions and he lives in Genova at the moment. He said that Gregorie has special mission from God, it is to seek God in sick people and he found them among those most abandoned ones more than thirty years ago. He was born in Benin but since 1971 he lives in Ivory Coast. He is married and has six children: “I am not a doctor; I am a simple worker, a car mechanic. I can say that I received Catholic education, my father was Catholic and they baptized me when I was born.
October is a month dedicated to Our Lady and numerous pilgrims are arriving every single day to Medjugorje. The Information Office registered groups from Hungary, Germany, Austria, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, France, Italy, England, Ireland, the United States, Belgium, Romania, Ukraine, Switzerland, Canada, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. We had chance to meet Fr. Domagoj Simunovic from Slavonski Brod. He heard about Medjugorje in the very beginning from one of his colleagues and in 1981, he came with a bus of pilgrims from Slavonski Brod.
Fr. Jilles Hodny from Switzerland came to Medjugorje three weeks after he began his journey. He is a parish priest in one valley in Switzerland and he served there for 26 years. It was this summer that his bishop decided to send him to another parish and he decided to come to Medjugorje before his transfer. He came here for the first time 25 years ago. It was just one day trip that did not leave too much impression on him.